Every time I visit Thailand I head south and bee line it straight for the islands. I’m a bit beach obsessed what can I say, but on my recent trip to Thailand I decided to finally check out Northern Thailand. The first stop in the north was Thailands second largest city Chiang Mai. As soon as I stepped off the overnight train I knew that Chiang Mai and myself were going to be life long friends. Here are 10 reasons why I love the city of Chiang Mai, Thailand.

1. Temples

  • Chiang Mai has over 300 temples. The temples are all different and all in great detail. A few of my favorites are Wat Chiang Man, Wat Suan Dok, Wat Chedi Luang.

2. Culture

  • Chiang Mai is Thailands culture capitol. You’ll get to experience some of Thailands roots and get a glimpse into how the old Siam Kingdom once was.

3. Elephants

  • Most travelers main agenda when visiting this city is to get up and close with an elephant. It was definitely what I was most excited about. There are many tour companies that provide you with the opportunity to hang out with some elephants for the day. Make sure you book a tour with an elephant sanctuary that cares for the animals and does not abuse them. We only want to support the sanctuaries that protect the elephants, here are a few to check out: Happy Elephant Home and Elephant Nature Park.

4. Vegan/Organic/Vegetarian Food Options

  • After all day of exploring on your feet and you’re tired and hungry, the last thing you want to do is spend more time than you need to deciding on a healthy place to eat. In Chiang Man thats never a problem. There are healthy food options on every corner. There are plenty of vegan cafes and most cafes have vegetarian and organic options! My favorite cafe I found was Nice Kitchen on Soi 6 street.

5. Smoothies

  • Along with the abundance health food options, theres tons of smoothie shops too. Northern Thailand is filled with green mountains and misty jungles which means it produces a lot of tropical fruit. You could drink one smoothie a day for one year and still not try all the fruit combinations.

6. Massage Parlors

  • Theres nothing I love more after a long day of exploring on my feet is getting a massage. I mean its cheap and feels great to pamper yourself. Ahhh the life, theres a massage parlor left and right here. Do yourself a favor and get one every night you are in Chiang Mai.

7. Take Away

  • One thing I noticed immediately was that you could get food ToGo in most every restaurant. I love having the convenience of getting food ToGo and be able to eat it at my hotel while I work on my computer. Its like room service but on a budget.

8. Abundance of Pool Tables

  • I love to play pool especially when I travel. The nights I play pool usually end up being the most memorable because we end up hanging out with the locals. In Chiang Mai pool tables are littered every where throughout the city. Plus I think everyone should be able to shoot a good game of pool.

9. Markets

  • There’s always a market happening in Chiang Mai. Sunday Market, Saturday Market, Night Bazaar, Sompet Market, Muang Mai Market, and Chang Puak Gate Market just to name a few.

10. Festivals

  • Loi Krathong and Yi Peng are probably the most famous of all them all. Its when a thousands of flame-powered Chinese lanterns are let go into the night sky until they look like stars sprinkled through the night sky.

What’s your favorite thing about Chiang Mai? Leave a comment and follow along with my adventures @imjess_traveling